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NFL Gameday 2001

Sony releases a PS2 football game so bad that it may very well bury the GameDay franchise.
Indy's running back Edgerrin James tries to escape this mess without luck.
Perhaps if EA hadn't released the groundbreaking Madden 2001 at launch, GameDay 2001 wouldn't look so embarrassing in comparison. No, on second thought, GameDay would look bad in comparison to any football game we've played in the last five years (and we've played them all).

We don't feel this way just because the game is far below the standards set by the first generation of PlayStation2 games. It's also because this horrible travesty might cheat a couple of otherwise unsuspecting parents, who meant to buy Madden, out of their hard-earned money with a game that even a chimpanzee with a transplanted goldfish brain could see was unfinished.

NFL Gameday 2001

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This game is so unfinished it's hard to even review it. As a football game, it's utterly unplayable. After an hour of gameplay, we found not just a money play or two, but AI holes so huge that an entire style of offense could defeat the computer on even the highest difficulty settings. On passing plays, the defense simply doesn't cover the running backs. That means that in any almost every formation with backs, the quarterback has a wide-open passing option. This even ruins one-on-one matches because it requires that, while on defense, each player has to manually cover the running backs on every down.

When we cranked up the difficulty to the highest setting and turned up the computer pass defense to the highest level, the game could partially shut down the offense by making our player drop the ball or sending a linebacker clipping through the defense at inhuman speeds. It still didn't stop us. Keep in mind we learned this after only an hour of gameplay. This flaw alone makes GameDay unplayable for anyone who knows football. Unfortunately, this is not even close to the game's only flaw.

Graphically, GameDay is also unfinished. The player models look barely better than what we've seen on the original PlayStation and, aside from their well-rendered faces, they're not even worth discussing here. We will, however, mention that they all look like they're wearing Moon Boots (for whatever that's worth). As ugly as they look, the players movements are even worse. Sony says the game runs at a crisp 60 frames per second. Apparently that framerate was achieved by removing any decent frames of animation that happened to crop up.

Players completely change directions in a single frame, while other players will run facing one direction while their bodies slide 15 or 20 yards the other direction. Quarterbacks will face one way while their thrown pass u-turns in midair and flies the other direction across the field. Even though the player models are different for each size player, the clipping planes are all the same size. Because of this, players squish into huge balls of ugly polygonal humanity, and it's almost impossible to determine what actually constitutes an open hole in the running game.

We already discussed the major AI problems in GameDay, but that's just one gameplay issue. The game just doesn't seem to have many running catch animations, so almost every pass reception is accompanied by an awkward pause as the receiver stops, turns around and catches the ball. The defensive players are not much smarter. They usually run five to 10 yards past the receiver before they realize he caught the ball. Luckily the game lets them warp forward into a tackle animation so they can make up the lost distance through the magic of Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

Frankly, we could go on and on about how this game is unfinished and how could they not know this -- and yet still pawn it off on gamers, at the same time destroying the good name of the GameDay franchise, but we'll let all that slide. What we won't let slide is the fact that this game simply doesn't even deserve mention in the same sentence with Madden 2001 (unless of course the context is similar to this sentence). Even diehard GameDay enthusiasts (which we are, normally) should steer well clear of this mess. Hopefully, next year things will improve.

The Bottom Line: This game was released before it was finished, making it absolute ass. Pure and simple. We almost feel sorry for the programmers, who probably knew it too.

- Dan Egger

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Come Back Here

"This game is so unfinished it's hard to even review it. "


You can't see the clipping here, but if you're dumb enough to buy this game you'll see plenty.

Don't be surprised if the ball flies in the other direction.

Compare these models to the player models in Madden 2001 and you'll see why we dislike this game.

Developer 989 Studios
Publisher Sony (SCEA)
Genre Sports
Players 1-4
A Few Other Flaws
In a review we don't always have time to mention all the oddities we find in a bad game. Here are a few issues we weren't able to mention:
-- The Pro-Talk feature makes coaches and refs look absolutely evil and creepy.
-- The Quarterback will occasionally take the snap without saying hike.
-- Players will cross the goal line or first down line with the ball without being awarded a touchdown or first down.
-- The crowd noise can't be shut off even during the options screen.
-- The momentum in tackles and collisions is all off.
-- Players line up in the wrong positions.
-- There are no arrows to show where offscreen players are. (It's almost impossible to catch when your player is not on the screen.)
-- The playcalling screen doesn't show yardage or first down markers.
-- Kickers can actually outrun their entire team to make the tackles on kickoffs

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